WNC News & Notes: New center teaches about changing technologies | NevadaAppeal.com

WNC News & Notes: New center teaches about changing technologies

Anne Hansen
For the Nevada Appeal
Western Nevada College Professor Susan Priest teaches an academic success class in October.
Courtesy Cathleen Allison /Nevada Photo Source |

Today’s college faculty members are using new instructional technologies more than ever. At Western Nevada College, a new Center for Teaching and Technology offers a comfortable and inviting space where people can learn about changing technologies and collaborate with their peers about new techniques.

To increase support to faculty members who are developing online materials and use instructional technology in their classes, WNC has opened an inviting resource center on the Carson City campus.

There, faculty members can find technological assistance several times each week. Whether they want to use social media such as Twitter, learn about Google Docs or rework their course materials to be taught online, personal assistance can speed up the process and enhance the comfort level of using new technologies.

“We want to expose them to technology in a nonthreatening way,” said Clarence Maise Jr., WNC’s distance education coordinator who spearheaded the project. “Some people are uncomfortable with technology.”

Dr. Robert Wynegar, vice president of academic and student affairs at WNC, said Maise’s proposal to create a technology learning center matched what faculty members were requesting.

“One of the strongest messages I received from the faculty early after arriving at WNC was a need for increased support in the development of online materials and the use of instructional technology,” Wynegar said. “It seemed to be a natural fit with the needs of the faculty.”

The thought is that students and teachers will benefit from integrating more technology inside and outside of their classrooms.

“Overall, the hope is that better technological integration will lead to better teaching online, and instructors will become more comfortable using technology in their face-to-face classes and teach more technology-enhanced material, because we know the students want it,” Maise said.

Dr. Sherry Neil-Urban, a professor in the nursing department, found the center beneficial for her needs to upload a test to Canvas, the Web-based learning system that WNC uses.

“I am so glad we have the new Center for Teaching and Learning,” Neil-Urban said. “It was the best thing ever to have an approachable and helpful person who was just a phone call away and who was able to show me the ropes about publishing a test to Canvas.”

Maise said he expects that traffic will become brisk as the word gets out.

Workshop is Jan. 18

The culinary arts offer an opportunity to Nevada’s farmers and ranchers to bring new value-added products to consumers. Changing raw agricultural products into something new through processing and packaging can diversify and create new farm revenue.

The Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute offers a workshop, “Value-added Products from the Farm,” from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Academy of Arts, Careers & Technology, 380 Edison Way, Reno. The cost is $35 for those registering by Jan. 10 and $45 afterward. Lunch is included. Seating is limited, and registration is required.

Participants will learn about product creation, recipe development and testing, food safety, product labeling, business planning, options for co-packing or commercial kitchen rental and more. The workshop will include a tour of Mrs. Auld’s Gourmet Foods co-packing facility and One World Kitchen commercial kitchen.

Farmers and culinary entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend. Value-added products offer chefs and farmers opportunity to work together to develop new business opportunities.

Featured speakers include industry experts and farmers with experience in value-added products. Courtney Barnes, owner of Gourmet Rooster and co-owner of Mrs. Auld’s Gourmet Foods, and Sam Harvey of One World Kitchen will discuss opportunities for food processing.

Rod Jorgensen of the Nevada Small Business Development Center will offer business-planning advice. Rick Lattin of Lattin Farms and Gary Romano of Sierra Valley Farms will speak about their experiences creating successful value-added farm products.

The WNC Specialty Crop Institute teaches alternative farming methods to growers. Funding is provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

For information and to register, contact Ann Louhela at 775-423-7565, Ext. 2260, or ann.louhela@wnc.edu.